The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons Episode 1 is anchored by the charming and wholesome story at its center. While the animation itself is nothing noteworthy beyond a single standout scene, with one-dimensional landscapes that leave the final product feeling flat, the narrative about the four brothers helps with the emotional impact. Sweet, meandering, and focused on the little things in life that a 12-year-old would concern themselves with, the introduction hooks us with these minutiae of details. Based on the manga written and illustrated by Shizuki Fujisawa and adapted by studio Shuka, the episode may not offer any electrifying visuals but it delivers an abundance of heart.
For slice-of-life fans, The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons Episode 1 is the perfect fit. Hayato is 23 years old and trying to give his three younger brothers the life he had when his parents were still alive. Working as a first-time class guide at a high school, he’s often sleep deprived, willing to dole out tasks to help him out to the second eldest, the cool and collected 13-year-old Mikoto. Minato, the episode’s narrator, is 12 and only eleven months apart from the popular Mikoto which means they both attend the same school.
Minato spends most of the episode oscillating between jealousy and frustration over Hayato’s willingness to delegate chores to Mikoto while seeming reluctant to do the same with Minato. It’s partially why Minato decides to take their youngest brother, the 6-year-old Gakuto, to a firework festival without letting his other brothers know.
The episode, directed by Mitsuru Hongo, shows a lot of restraint in moments that could easily toe the line into melodrama for drama’s sake. Minato and Hayato butt heads but it never amounts to an explosive showdown or with an actual argument. The former wants to help because he can see that the eldest is working himself to the bone while Hayato is in the difficult and awkward position of playing the role of brother and parent, especially as a brother with a ten-year difference on the next in line.
Instead, things resolve themselves quietly and with understanding, with the first thing Hayato says to Minato upon finding him at the festival being a question worrying if Minato is okay. Similarly, flashbacks to the days when their parents were alive are used sparingly, mainly here to show how Minato is able to draw from his own pool of memories in hopes that it inform how he watches Gakuto.
The emotional core of the story works so well by scraping together small details of the characters within the very few moments, beyond simply their ages and what schools they attend. Hayato’s fatigue is clear through the voice acting, while Gakuto’s youthful wisdom is counteracted by his clear need for adult support, such as his childlike wonder of taking in the fireworks at the end of the episode, sitting atop Hayato’s shoulders. Minato’s gumption is evident in his friendship with his next-door neighbor, a girl who towers over him in height but in whom he’s found a kindred spirit who takes the same lackadaisical approach to school.
Of all the characters, it’s Mikoto who isn’t given the same amount of material to explore, though the two sides of the same coin characterization between him and Minato is charming in how it presents how 11 months might seem insignificant a difference in age but mean the world when we’re in our adolescence.
The voice acting and the character work are strong, even if it is all in the introductory phases. It will be interesting to see if the show ends up depicting the stories through the other brothers’ point of view, aside from only Minato. While the animation lacks spark, the production is elevated by the score from composer Yoshikazu Suo, the music offering a whimsical, day-in-the-life aesthetic that perfectly suits the stories being told.
The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons Episode 1 might not be the most visually stimulating series to debut this year but the story of four brothers and their dynamics are charming enough to ensure a second episode. There’s subtlety and nuance to how the four main characters are portrayed and how they perceive the others in their close-knit family, so here’s hoping the show is able to expand on those points of view and allow greater stories to be built off of the foundation set.
The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons Episode 1 is available now on Crunchyroll.
The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons Episode 1
The Yuzuki Family’s Four Sons Episode 1 might not be the most visually stimulating series to debut this year but the story of four brothers and their dynamics are charming enough to ensure a second episode.